Animal owner's liability – our 3 tips on liability cover for dogs and other pets

Anyone who keeps pets is quickly confronted with claims for damages.

But who is actually liable if your poodle snaps at a curious passer-by on its daily walk or your fearsome feline decimates the neighbour’s flock of homing pigeons? Is animal owner’s liability insurance even mandatory in Switzerland? Our tips provide clarity for all animal lovers.

In general, you are liable for your animal as the owner, so your personal liability insurance will cover any damage it causes. This normally includes animal owner’s liability, i.e. for dogs, cats and other small pets. As a result, both personal injury and property damage that your pet causes to others are covered. Separate liability policies for dogs or other types of animal owner’s liability insurance are not required in most cases.

However, caution is advisable if you take your animal to work – for instance as a guard dog. In such cases, you may need additional insurance. Furthermore, additional cover is normally required if you hire or borrow a farm animal such as a horse. To be on the safe side, ask your insurance company whether damage caused by your animal is really covered.

In general, animal owner’s liability cover is not required by law in Switzerland. There are certain cantons, however, in which liability insurance with a certain minimum sum insured is mandatory for dogs. Your landlord may also require you to take out dog owner’s liability cover for your four-legged friend.

In both cases, personal liability insurance is usually sufficient, but be sure to check which kinds of damage your policy actually covers.

No. One policy is normally enough for all your pets, no matter whether you’re looking after a flock of budgies or a whole litter of kittens.
  • Although liability insurance for your pets is often voluntary, it is still very much recommended.
  • Liability cover for dogs is mandatory in some cantons.
  • In certain circumstances, you may need a separate liability policy for horses and other farm animals.
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